Canterbury Tales

Reeve's tale


The Reeve is a shrewd old man. He was very good with money and possessions but sometimes stole from his master. He has white hair and is very lean and long. He comes from Norfolk and always is last when the ride. He performs this tale in direct response to the Miller's tale because the Miller made fun a carpenter and the Reeve used to be a carpenter.


There was a Reeve who was proud and happy, who's name was Symond. He married a educated woman who was un-honorable and had two children. Two boys, John and Alan wanted to test the Miller to see if he would steal from them. The Miller however catches on and thinks he can out trick them. So, he lets the boys horse go free. The boys have no choice and chase after the horse. While they are gone the Miller steals a bunch of grain and makes a cake. After the boys recover the horse, they tell the Miller they will pay him to stay the night.

Everyone goes to bed in a small dark room. The boys know the MIller stole some grain so Alan goes and sleeps with the MIller's daughter and John sleeps with his wife. After Alan is done he goes to crawl next to John to tell him that he has slept with the beautiful daughter but he had accidentally cawed up next to the Miler and the Miller is of course outraged and the room breaks out in a fight. The Miller crashes down on his wife and she thinking it was one of the boys, hits the Miler right in the head adn he is knocked out. The boys get there stuff and the daughter tells Alan that the miller stole grain and made in into a cake and it is in the barn. The boys grab all there grain and leave. Know the MIller is left with no grain and his family screwed.


The Reeve does a great job and actually gives the audience the moral of his story, "He who does evil cannot expect good, a beguiler shall himself be beguiled". This is kind of like do to other what you would want them to do to you. The Reeve is saying that karma will eventually get you back if you are a bad person and you will loose in the end no matter what you do.


I had to to research what the word Besmirched meant to further understand what kind a person the miller wife was. And it means a person of tarnish, and someone who detracts from honor or luster of something, mean the Miller's wife was un-honorable to him.


Besmirched- to soil; tarnish; discolor. to detract from the honor or luster of

beguiler- to influence by trickery, flattery, etc.; mislead; delude.

parson- a member of the clergy, especially a Protestant minister; pastor;rector.

fluttery- to throw into nervous or tremulous excitement; cause mental agitation; confuse

scrofula- primary tuberculosis of the lymphatic glands, especially those of the neck

Essential question 1: Why would the Reeve tell such an awful story about the Miller?

Essential question 2: Do you feel like the Reeve got "even" with the Miller?